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The Mega Dunes Ecolodges competition was the third collaboration between Buildner and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), focused on creating lodging for visitors to observe some of Abu Dhabi’s unique wildlife in their natural habitat, specifically the Arabian Oryx. The jury sought creative, sustainable, and constructable proposals designed with sensitivity to this delicate natural environment.

First prize was awarded to Giuseppe Ricupero, Egidio Cutillo, Stefania Schirò and Enrico Capanni from Italy. Their Heritage Machine project involved the gradual transition from the exterior to the interior world through a series of thresholds and a grand roof canopy on the common hub large enough to form its own microclimate. The architectural techniques were low-tech but powerful concepts that responded perfectly to local environmental constraints.

Second prize was awarded to Natalia Wrzask and Rolando Rodriguez Leal from a company called Aidia Studio in Mexico. Their project - The Rub' al Khali OCULUS - involved a reconfigurable shading structure that provided 360-degree panoramic views that visitors could change and customise. Third prize was awarded to Ahmad Nouraldeen, Luca Fraccalvieri, Jana Semaan and Lama Barhoumi from Lebanon. Their Desert Lens project achieved a high level of flexibility via a reconfigurable tensile structure superimposed on a fixed bamboo shell.

You can read our full jury comments, see high resolution renderings, and learn more about our Student and Green prize winners at

1st prize

2nd prize

3rd prize